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Thousands of Slovakians came out against government’s pro-Russian policies

The protest was directed at Prime Minister Robert Fico’s foreign policy, which has raised concerns among critics for its strong criticism of Europe’s military aid to Ukraine and its push to renew Russian ties both culturally and politically.
protest in slovakia against foreign policy march 2024
Protest in Slovakia against foreign policy on 12 March 2024. Credit: Reuters
Thousands of Slovakians came out against government’s pro-Russian policies

Some 5,000 people gathered in Bratislava, Slovakia, on 12 March to protest against the Slovak government’s stance on Russia and its criticism of military aid to Ukraine, Reuters reported.

Slovak PM Robert Fico, who took power in October 2023, regularly faces opposition protests against his policies, mainly over revisions to the criminal code that critics say weaken the fight against corruption. However, this was the first protest aimed at his foreign policy.

The demonstration, organized by Michal Hvorecky, began with air raid sirens. “People in Ukraine hear this every day,” Hvorecky told, according to Reuters.

People at the protest hold Slovak, Ukrainian, European Union, and NATO flags alongside a sign calling Russia a “terrorist state.”

The protest was directed at Prime Minister Robert Fico’s foreign policy, which has raised concerns among critics for its strong criticism of Europe’s military aid to Ukraine and its push to renew Russian cultural and political ties.

Slovakia’s Foreign Minister Juraj Blanar held talks earlier in March with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, a rare high-level encounter between an EU member state and Russia, which the EU has sought to isolate.

The leader of the far-right Slovak National Party (SNS), which is part of the governing coalition, Andrej Danko, said in early March that Russia “is not the aggressor” in the full-scale war against Ukraine but rather “defending its interests.”

Due to such a shift in the Slovak government’s foreign policy, the Czech government suspended joint meetings with Slovakia’s cabinet, which had been a regular occurrence under past administrations.

“I don’t like the direction our prime minister is taking after the elections. I am disappointed. We are part of the West,” said Roman, a 45-year-old IT professional who joined the protest in Slovakia, according to Reuters.

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